Manchester United ‘left Mauricio Pochettino in the dark’ over Erik ten Hag developments

Erik ten Hag appointed next Manchester United manager

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Manchester United kept Mauricio Pochettino in the dark as they pressed forward with plans to appoint Erik ten Hag as their new manager, it has been revealed. Pochettino was Ten Hag’s primary contender to take charge at Old Trafford next season, but United has now confirmed the Ajax boss’ impending arrival.

On Thursday, a club statement read: “Manchester United is delighted to announce the appointment of Erik ten Hag as Men’s First Team Manager, subject to work visa requirements, from the end of this season until June 2025, with the option to extend for a further year.”

According to The Athletic, United had planned to inform Pochettino that Ten Hag was their preference before an official announcement. However, it was deemed ‘awkward’ when reports broke that the Dutchman had become their chosen candidate because they hadn’t yet informed him of the decision.

Richard Arnold, John Murtough and Darren Fletcher met Ten Hag for talks in Amsterdam at the end of March as part of a series of ‘multiple direct meetings’. Talks with the 52-year-old became so advanced that he was invited to a ‘lengthy meeting’ with United’s owners, the Glazers.

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There was a unanimous understanding between both parties afterwards, with Ten Hag’s reputation ‘enhanced’ among club chiefs after each meeting. During the talks, he outlined his long-term vision and discussed his plans for his backroom staff at the club.

But despite the process being so advanced, Pochettino was ‘caught by surprise’ that Ten Hag had edged ahead of him. ‘At no point’ did United directly contact PSG to terminate the Argentine’s contract whilst he was ‘properly gathering’ information about the club’s structure, squad profiles and even Manchester as a city.

Football director Murtough, who led the process, explained why the Red Devils opted for Ten Hag as he was announced as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s successor. He said: “During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team’s attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.

“In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that.”

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